Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dials 101

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak celebrates its 50th anniversary in the coming year. Launched in the midst of the 1970s Quartz Crisis, it is the forerunner to the genre of timepieces we now know as luxury sports watches. With its steel construction and geometric relief, it broke all the prevailing watch codes of the time.

The Royal Oak has all the makings of an iconic design. Being penned by the hand of Gerald Genta, and having an incredible shape and finishing are all great things, but the thing that is overlooked the most is the unique design of its dial.

Called “tapisserie” dials, the waffle-pattern of the Royal Oak’s face has been closely associated with the brand. Let’s look at the history of these dials and the different types available.

 

Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak White & Black Dial Steel Mens Watch 15400ST

 

Making the Royal Oak Dial

Since the very first Royal Oak was sold to the Shah of Iran, they have featured dials with a tapisserie pattern on them. The weaving pattern that forms small squares captures light and accentuates the Royal Oak’s silhouette.

In the very beginning, AP sub-contracted the production of their dials to one famed dial manufacturer – Stern Creations. If the name Stern rings a bell, that’s because it was founded by the Stern family, the clan who would later on purchase a Geneva watchmaker called Patek Philippe.

 

Royal Oak
A Tapisserie dial in progress (photo: AP)

 

The delicate operation involves the use of a burin – a precision metalwork chisel that reproduces the motif on a disc. This system is combined with a machine that forms the smaller lozenges between the square knobs.

Since 2012, all dials have been done in-house by Audemars Piguet, after acquiring ‘guilloché’ making machines from Canada and the United States. Today, there are 3 main tapisserie dials that can be seen on Royal Oak watches.

 


 

Types of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dials

There are minute distinctions between the dials of the Royal Oak, but they can easily be spotted upon closer inspection.

 

Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with a Petite Tapisserie Dial (photo: Phillips)

 

Petite Tapisserie

The Petite Tapisserie can be found on the first Royal Oak Jumbos, majority of the Royal Oaks from the 80s and 90s, and on 40th anniversary Extra-Thin Royal Oak Jumbo models.

These feature smaller pyramidal squares on the dial and a tighter pattern. It will be noticed that older Petite Tapisserie patterns from before 2012 have 10 squares between the center pinion – where the hands are attached – and the date aperture. These have been reduced to 9 in the newer Petite Tapisserie dials.

 


 

Royal Oak White Dial
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak White Dial Steel Mens Watch 15400ST

 

Grande Tapisserie

The Grande Tapisserie dial can be found on models introduced in the early 2000s and onward. Compared to the Petite Tapisserie pattern, the squares on the Grande Tapisserie dial pattern are noticeably larger by at least fifty percent. In addition, the dial has flat areas where the brand name “Audemars Piguet” and the “Automatic” label are imprinted on.

 


 

Royal Oak Offshore
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Dial Mens Watch 15703

 

Méga Tapisserie

The Méga Tapisserie dial, as the name connotes, showcases the largest pattern found on the Royal Oak’s dial. It is at least double in size when compared to the Grande Tapisserie.

You will find the Méga Tapisserie dial on majority of Royal Oak Offshore models, including the Themes, Safari, Diver, Bumblebee, and Rubber Clad watches, as well as in all of the models within the new 43 – 44mm range of the Royal Oak Offshore line. What differentiates the Méga Tapisserie dial from the other two is – the patterns are stamped and not guillochéd.

 


 

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has evolved through the years, while retaining the rule-breaking spirit of the original. Explore our selection of Audemars Piguet watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.

 

____

SEE MORE OF THE WATCHES IN OUR VIDEO:

____

Toll-free US and Canada Only:
1-800-797-0634
Outside US:
1-404-814-1814


Customer service:
info@swisswatchexpo.com


Swiss Watch Expo
315 East Paces Ferry Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305


M - F 10 AM to 6 PM EST
Saturdays 10 AM to 5 PM EST